Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Prince of Botanists – Carolus Linnaeus

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Young Carolus Linnaeus

I was going to attend a conference at Uppsala University in Sweden. Professor EC Cocking and a group of 11 students were accompanying us from Nottingham, England. With some time on my hands, I wandered around the duty-free shop at Heathrow Airport. With my Taiwanese girlfriend Wang. Didn’t care about time. Suddenly I heard the announcement, both of us are wanted for immediate boarding. I ran quickly. I was afraid, what the rest of them think about our lateness. Entering the plane was a different experience. Everyone in the group is smiling at us, as if something very funny has happened. I found my seat right next to the professor. The reason for laughter is understandable now. The gentleman is a fairly famous and prominent person. Someone in the group sits next to the professor on the China trip. Because he bores the person next to him by talking professionally all the time.

The professor did not bore me. He started the story about “Linnay”. He talked about Lynn’s various contributions to Sweden with infinite respect. How Linnaeus became involved in the classification of animals. He said how people all over Sweden adore and love him. The professor knew so much about Linnaeus that he didn’t realize when the whole journey had passed listening to that story. I listened in fascination and wondered when I would see Linnaeus’ Uppsala, Linnaeus’ garden, Linnaeus’ house. This memory of sky travel is inexhaustible to me. Had a wonderful time with Prof. Linnaeus. A wonderful memory that I couldn’t resist sharing with everyone. This Linnaeus is Carolus Linnaeus (Carolus Linnaeus). In Sweden, the Swedes affectionately call him ‘Linne’. Mixed with this love is immense respect and honor.

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Carolus Linnaeus was also called Carl Linnaeus. Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) was born in Råshult, Sweden. He was a botanist, zoologist and a physician. He is called father of modern taxonomy. He is also called a father of modern ecology. He had his own garden at the age of five. Of what he later said, “the garden inspired my soul with an insatiable love of trees”. He received most of his life education from Uppsala University.

He lived outside Sweden from 1735 to 1738. His scientific research on plants began while he was studying medicine and plant nutrition. It was then that Linnaeus realized that the system of classification of animals and plants that was being used was incomplete and at the same time misguided. In 1741, Linnaeus began working as a professor at Uppsala University. He taught Botany, Zoology and other subjects. As a teacher he was very popular among his students. In the 1750s and 1760s he collected and classified animals, plants and minerals. In the 1770s he traveled to different parts of Sweden to find and classify different types of plants and animals.

Carl Linnaeus’ greatest contribution was the introduction of the modern binomial nomenclature system to taxonomy. Each species will have a generic name and a species name (epithet). The first book on his work, Systema Naturae, was published in 1725 while he was studying in the Netherlands, which was a work in progress and followed in several volumes. His taxonomic ideas changed day by day and he continued to add them to the Systema Naturae. He continued to add more and more new plants and animals as he discovered them. Although the binomial nomenclature method was in use before him. He revised the ancient method and introduced it widely among scientists. Since then, in botany, the abbreviation L. or Linn (Linnaeus) began to be used at the end of the binomial name of a species. His scientific thought was based on religion. From his religious beliefs he believed that the Creator is best understood through His creation. Linnaeus’ conception of evolution was quite different from the modern theory. He believed that species are immutable. Although he says that the creation of new species naturally may be possible but the amount and potential are very limited. In 1747 he was appointed Chief Royal Physician. He was knighted in 1758 and at the same time honored with the name Carl von Linné. Before his death he was renowned as one of Europe’s leading scientists and was hailed as the Prince of Botanists.

Uppsala’s Garden of Linnaeus is called Uppsala’s Paradise. Linnaeus Gardens was Sweden’s first botanical garden, first established in 1655, before his birth. The garden is made in French style. It was later renovated in 1745 to the design of Linnaeus. Now there are 1300 species of trees planted regularly. Each tree is planted to Linnaeus’ designs and according to his instructions. All species are planted in Linnaeus’s own plots. Along with this garden was his professional residence, exhibition and cafe shop. The garden display starts at the beginning of May and ends at the end of September every year. After that winter falls in Sweden. The garden can’t be kept fresh even if you want to.

Carl Linnaeus’ house in Summerby is now a museum. It is maintained by the Swedish Linnaeus Society. The museum is open throughout the year and must be booked in advance. Had the pleasure of seeing Lynn’s house and garden. The house is simple but their family garden is built on a few acres of land. While exploring his huge garden, our tour guide stopped in front of a small bush. He looked at the tree with compassion for a few moments … then began to say.. This tree was very dear to Lynn. Once Lynn’s lovely little daughter had a very high fever. The doctor could not reduce the fever. The girl’s skin color turns purple due to fever. Lynne couldn’t keep her head straight. Run to the garden behind the house. After sitting for a long time, he suddenly noticed that he was sitting in front of a small wild bush with small purple flowers blooming. The purple flowers reminded her of the little girl burned with fever. He gazed at the flowers in wonder with compassion. His daughter has also turned purple. He felt that the wild bush was standing in front of him as his daughter. Just then, news came that his daughter’s fever had subsided. Lynn, overcome with joy, felt that the wild bush had come to him in the form of his daughter. Since that incident, the creeper of the bush was called ‘Linne’s daughter’.

Wherever we have been in Uppsala since then, Linn’s vine has always been with us. Linnaeus’s daughter, Linnaeus’s vine, on the background of the stage at the welcome address of the conference. When I went to eat at the restaurant, I saw the vine drawn on the napkin. Same monogram on conference writing pad. He loved this vine very much. It is named after Linnaea borealis. I was surprised to see how much respect was given to Linnaeus all over Sweden. The famous philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in a message to Linnaeus, “I do not know a greater and nobler man than Linnaeus.”

Scarborough, Canada

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